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House votes to fine lawmakers who refuse to walk through metal detectors

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Washington — The House on Wednesday voted to formally implement fines for members who refuse to walk through metal detectors installed outside the House chamber following the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

A resolution detailing the fines was approved 216 to 210 as part of a procedural vote. The measure directs the House sergeant-at-arms to impose a fine against any member "for failure to complete security screening for entrance to the House chamber." Those who fail to comply will be hit with a $5,000 penalty for the first offense and $10,000 fine for any subsequent offense.

Members can appeal the fines to the House Ethics Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement following the vote it is "sad" the change to House rules to impose the fines was needed because some members refused to walk through the magnetometers, "but the people's House must and will be safe."

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Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, is searched as she goes through a metal detector in front of the door to the House floor, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Bloomberg

Pelosi chastised "many" House Republicans who, after the January 6 assault, "began disrespecting our heroes by refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our congressional community safe — including by dodging metal detectors, physically pushing past police, and even attempting to bring firearms into the chamber."

"It is beyond comprehension why any member would refuse to adhere to these simple, commonsense steps to keep this body safe," Pelosi said.

The magnetometers were installed just outside the entrance to the House chamber last month as part of efforts to bolster security following the January 6 riots. But some Republicans bucked the new security measures and either walked directly around metal detectors or refused to stop after setting them off.  

In at least one instance, Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland was suspected of attempting to bring a gun into the House chamber, as he set off the metal detectors while trying to enter the House chamber. While lawmakers can carry firearms on Capitol grounds, they cannot bring them on the House floor.

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